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It’s Vaccination Season

Nov 16, 2021
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As we head into the winter months and spend more time indoors, it’s vital to get up to date on the seasonal flu vaccine, as well as COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. We’ve pulled together the latest information from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC), so you know where, when, and how to get the protection you need to stay healthy.

Before COVID-19, seasonal flu vaccination was the most important annual vaccination for most of us to get. According to the U.S. CDC, flu vaccination prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related provider visits each year. The CDC estimates that from 2019-2020, the flu vaccination prevented 7.5 million influenza illnesses, 3.7 million influenza-associated medical visits, 105,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations, and 6,300 influenza-associated deaths.

The U.S. and Maine CDCs recommend that people six months and older get an annual flu vaccine as early in the fall as possible. If you haven’t already done so, call your primary care provider (PCP) or your local pharmacy to schedule your flu vaccination today. The good news is that Health Options makes the flu vaccine available at $0 cost-share to Members, and you can receive a flu shot at the same time as a COVID-19 shot if you still need one.

Also, COVID-19 boosters are available to everyone aged 18 and older­­ – just in time for holiday gatherings. The latest (CDC) booster recommendations are:

  • If you received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccination, you are eligible for a booster if you are aged 18 years and older and at least six (6) months have passed after completing your primary COVID-19 vaccination series. Any of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States can be used for the booster dose.
  • If you received the J&J/Janssen vaccine, you should get a booster if you are 18 years or older and at least two (2) months have passed after completing your primary COVID-19 vaccination series. Any of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States can be used for the booster dose.

You can get your booster shot anywhere that provides the COVID-19 vaccine. You may hear directly from your healthcare provider about getting a booster, or you may contact the locations linked below for an appointment. Many locations also offer drop-in vaccinations with no appointment necessary.

For a final piece of vaccination news, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is now widely available for individuals aged 5 and older throughout Maine. As the Delta variant continues to be a prominent strain, vaccination is the safest way to protect against severe illness in children and adults.

It’s also important to continue protecting unvaccinated children ages two and older, who should wear a mask in public spaces and around people with whom they do not live.

If you need help scheduling an appointment, or want to know if a site near you offers vaccinations without an appointment, call the Maine COVID-19 Community Vaccination Line at (888) 445-4111. You may also search for COVID-19 vaccine availability here: Maine vaccination sites.

Your health, well-being, and safety are our priorities. Please call our Member Services at (855) 624-6463 for more information about vaccines and other preventive care benefits.

SEE ALSO

Even in the best of times, Maine winters are better for eating comfort food and hibernating than for starting a new routine of physical fitness and better eating. But the pandemic makes physical and mental wellbeing even more important than ever, and Health Options has some valuable tools for helping you put one foot in front of the other on the road to wellness.

We all know the benefits of eating well when it comes to mental strength, stamina, and weight loss, but there are also many links between diet and stress. According to Healthwise, you can make a few simple changes, like not overdoing caffeine and alcohol and avoiding eating on the run, so that your daily habits support stress defense. Read more diet tips here.

Or watch this video for more easy tips, like remembering to eat breakfast and planning meals in advance.

Likewise, even moderate amounts of physical activity can greatly improve your mental and physical health. Healthwise recommends brisk walking, for at least 2.5 hours each week, as a good goal. What’s better: You can split this time up in workable sessions to find the routine that best suits you.

Not much of a walker? For more ideas about getting physical, take a look at another valuable Health Options benefit called LifeBalance. This program offers all Members savings on thousands of recreational, wellness, travel, and cultural activities. Whether you are looking to join a gym, find some online fitness classes, or buy some new fitness gear, you can visit HealthOptions.LifeBalanceProgram.com to access great deals for enrolled Community Health Options Members and family members.